Journal Article

Monolithic approach towards next generation aircraft design considering airline operations and economics


S. Roy, W. A. Crossley, K. T. Moore, J. S. Gray, and J. R. R. A. Martins


Journal of Aircraft, 56(4):1565–1576, 2019



Traditional approaches to the design and optimization of a new system often use a system-centric objective that does not consider how the operator will use this new system alongside other existing systems. When the new system design is incorporated into the broader group of systems, the performance of the operator-level objective can be suboptimal due to the unmodeled interaction between the new system and the other systems. Among the few available references that describe attempts to address this disconnect, most follow an multidisciplinary design and optimization-motivated sequential decomposition approach of first designing an optimal system and then providing this system to the operator who decides the best way to use this new system along with the existing systems. This paper addresses this issue by including aircraft design, airline operations, and revenue management “subspaces”; and it presents an approach that could simultaneously solve these subspaces while posed as a monolithic optimization problem. The monolithic approach makes the problem an expensive mixed-integer nonlinear programming problem and is extremely difficult to solve. A recently developed optimization framework is used that simultaneously solves the subspaces to capture the “synergy” in the problem. The results demonstrate that simultaneously optimizing the subspaces leads to significant improvement in the fleet-level objective of the airline when compared to the previously developed sequential subspace decomposition approach. The results also showcase that maximizing the revenue and minimizing the operating cost independently need not lead to a maximized profit solution for the airline.